Let's hear it for comfort food

As I write this, my hubby is making one of his cherished grilled cheese sandwiches, using an old iron to ensure the bread gets good and crispy

Don't worry, it is the cast iron variety, not the electric kind.)

It’s pouring rain, and dreary days deserve the comfort of melted cheese.

After my column last week about burgers, I wondered what other comfort foods were popular, and, of course, grilled cheese is on the list.

I am not sure if the actual sandwich offers Martin comfort, or if it is the ritual of using the iron he really loves.

We all have our favourite things, and often they are entrenched in very specific conditions to keep them intact as favourites. New favourites often include such details, and that is what makes them endearing.

You know, like the fact that Oreo cookies have to be eaten with a glass of milk, and you have to pull them apart — maybe you don’t, but I certainly do.

It is comforting to know what is going to happen, how the food is going to taste; and the anticipation of that moment is what really makes you feel better.

What is your favourite comfort food?

For me, the favourites are usually from my childhood, like a mug of hot chocolate and a scrambled egg sandwich on fresh French bread.

The butter on the bread melts from the hot eggs, and with just a bit of ketchup it is sublime (my hubby likes mustard, which apparently is a Quebecois thing).

The hot chocolate must be made with cocoa and honey too; it gives a much richer taste than bottled syrups.

Dreary days and lonely or stressful times can often make us think of comfort foods.

  • Something to chase away those winter blues, even as the temperatures warm up.
  • Something that makes us all warm and fuzzy inside, helping us forget about a bad day or a lost love
  • Something you can have even if there are no friends or family around, that gives you the same feeling as when they are all around.

One thing I discovered while researching the top comfort foods is that they change by region. Shrimp and grits was not in the top 10 in Canada, but then perogies weren’t on the American list.

And did you know that Nutella beats out peanut butter if you look at internationally ranked comfort foods

Here in Canada, we have specific favourites from different parts of the country, and if you have history with one of those favourites, then you are likely a fiercely loyal fan.

Butter tarts either do or don’t have raisins. French fries have vinegar — or ketchup — or cheese curds and gravy.

Favourite pies can be fruit (a la mode, or maybe apple pie with cheddar cheese?), or flapper pie, or savoury tourtiere. After all, we are an expansive country.

If you have a hankering, I did find a comprehensive list, and it includes recipes. Maybe you’ll even step outside your comfort zone and try a new possible favourite.

Anything that drives away that dreariness and adds some light in your day is worth tasting.

(Here's a link for Canadian comfort foods: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/shows/great-canadian-cookbook/photos/great-canadian-comfort-food-recipes/#!West-Coast-Fish-Chowder )

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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